Andy G. on Mt Strachan:
“A very peaceful and completely view-free hike on a cloudy day. A bit like the first time I called out this hike ten years ago! No matter – the beauty of the forest and the flowers kept our attention from start to finish. Emily, Janavie and I walked past Yew Lake to pick up the HSCT as far as Strachan Meadows, then Christmas Gully up to the north summit for lunch. From there we went over to the south summit to pick up the trail back down. We took the shortcut near the Hollyburn Giant to save a bit of time. It took us 5.5 hours car-to-car including nearly an hour for lunch.
The trail was snow-free and mostly mud-free, apart from the section between the Baden-Powell trail and the north-side turnoff to Hollyburn. Rocks and roots were slippery after the recent rain, and all the bushes were sopping wet. As were my shorts after a few minutes of hiking through all this…
A surprisingly-large number of flowers were blooming, including sundew, deer cabbage, purple asters, pink heather, white heather, northern starflower, sitka valerian, some very early queen’s cup near Yew Lake (otherwise lots in bud), bunchberry, rosy twistedstalk, coralroot, partridgefoot, lupine, Indian hellebore (just in leaf right now), alaska violets, yellow violets, and various berry bushes. I think that covers it 🙂
Black flies were annoying once on Strachan summit and down through the marshy meadows, but mosquitoes were mostly not a problem – just a few here and there.
All in all, another great day out in the mountains!”
Andy G. at St Mark’s Summit:
“A glorious day out with a relaxed bunch of fellow hikers. Seven of us set off along the trail to St Mark’s, seeking sunshine wherever we could. It was f-f-f-freezing cold near Yew Lake, easily the coldest part of the day, but not too bad a little higher up in the forest where it was cool, light and airy. Bowen Lookout was worth the detour, the Lions were resplendent in their white winter coat, and the whisky jacks were as bold as ever at St Mark’s.
The snow was thin and well compacted along the trail, which was easy to follow. Microspikes or YakTrax were helpful for the descent but not really needed on the way up. Off trail, there was about 20 cm of light powder sitting on an icy crust. This crust bore my weight quite easily, but I had little traction even with YakTrax especially on a slope. Getting to the lower viewpoint was a little tricky as it was hard to make steps in the snow but we all made it and enjoyed lunch in the sun.
A couple of things to note. Day passes are at the old lodge – pick up one *before* you try and cross the ski area. And don’t expect to start on the trail before 9:30 – we (and everyone else) were held up by the fact that the ski resort was still doing work on the runs. I’m guessing that this is mostly due to them having to manage the low snow levels and work to make the skiing any good, and that this restriction might be eased later in the season.”
Andrew W. on Hollyburn Peak:
“It was a beautiful day as a party of two headed up Hollyburn Peak for a nice relaxing hike. Snow was scarce with just a dusting of the white stuff at the top, all hard packed down from the rain and freeze-thaw conditions this past week (nowhere near the amount needed for snowshoes.) A little bit of ice in a few places made the trail a little more slippery than usual but on a clear day one could see for miles. A great break from the madness of the malls!”
Will on Unnecessary Mountain:
“Two people came along with me on a very unpromising-looking Sunday morning. A few kilometres up the road to Cypress Bowl we broke into the sunshine and were above the clouds in the warm sunshine all day.
We took the Howe Sound Crest trail over St Mark’s Summit and on to Unnecessary, stopping for lunch in between Unnecessary’s two main summits and continuing towards the Lions until we hit our turnaround time.
There are lots of ups and downs on this trail and it’s rough in places. But the forest lower down is beautiful, and the part along Unnecessary was lovely: hiking on granite slabs among fall colours, with great views all around.”
Tu Loan cycling up to Cypress Bowl:
“Emeric L. joined TLT in her third callout of the Triple Crown series. Because he had already ridden the ridiculous hill along 15th street as part of his commuting regiment, they started at the bottom of Cypress. After consolidating gear and discussing the water situation, as they both anticipated a hot and thirsty ride up the mountain, the peloton of two made their way up the mountain.
The trees provided ample shade much to the delight of the riders. Good conversation was to be had as Emeric imparted some much appreciated wisdom regarding race preparation. TLT soaked it in as she had 5 days to prep for a big race/event that she hadn’t been thinking much about. “Breathe from the stomach. Set your intentions. Visualize. Meditate.” The ride up was a great place to practice TLT’s breathing. Later, she figured it was a great strategy for Emeric to not have to listen to her talk!
The ride was definitely less daunting than anticipated (as predicted in the callout). At the 11 km mark, with TLT’s insistence, Emeric channeled his TDF French roots and blasted the last 4 km to the top. Literally. He blasted! TLT believed she heard a sonic boom. With him gone, she was able to set her intentions of consuming a cold beverage after the ride, visualize the pizza she was going to order, and breathe in the hot melting cheese. She figured the food-induced coma will help with her meditation. Emeric came back to pick her up and together they reached the chalet where they were greeted with much enthusiasm by mosquitoes. A quick picture was taken before they flew down the mountain.
Post-ride refreshments were enoyed at the Tap House in Park Royal. TLT had her pizza and beer just as she intended.
Thank you Emeric for another great ride! Now that TLT’s ridden all three local mountains, she will be looking to climb them all in one day! Look out for that callout!”
Stephen H. on Hollyburn:
“Mary, Dave, Ida, Ivy, and I headed up to Hollyburn Mountain on Sunday. The 8 a.m. meet time proved to be a good idea, as the parking lot and trail were to get crowded later. Anyhow, we enjoyed some great snow and mountain views. On the way down, we bashed through some powder and did a few butt slides. Perfect day.”
Markus on Hollyburn:
“Lots of snow still up on the hills and it’s packed. You can get away with yak-trax or spikes until you reach the ski area boundry and then you will definitely want snowshoes. The roads were clear as was the view. All in all a beautiful day for being on the mountain.”
Stephen H. at Eagle Bluffs:
“Five of us set off under cloudy skies (but no rain!) for a hike on Black Mountain. We hit the Yew Lake Lookout, Black Mountain summit, Eagle Bluff, and Donut Rock. Conditions were good if a little muddy along the trail. No snow yet. A pair of ravens kept us company at lunch on the bluff. The rough route to Donut Rock was a worthy diversion, though the most we could make out was maybe a fritter. Black Mountain is beautiful in the fall, and the hike was a great six hours.”